Space

Commercial crew astronauts Bob Behnken (left) and Doug Hurley (right) stand in front of a SpaceX Dragon mock-up at the Johnson Space Center.

Smithsonian Voices

The Storied History Behind Saturday's Planned SpaceX Launch

Smithsonian curator Jennifer Levasseur examines NASA's relationship with spacecraft contractors

Artist’s impression of the triple system with the closest black hole.

Astronomers Discover the Closest Known Black Hole

The newfound 'invisible' object is only 1,000 light years from home

On April 17, 1970, the parachutes carrying the Apollo 13 spacecraft and its crew cleared the clouds and the world breathed a collective sigh of relief.

How the Crew of the Damaged Apollo 13 Came Home

Using the lunar module as a lifeboat and employing techniques never before considered, the astronauts' ordeal ended triumphantly

Danish physician Nadja Albertsen spent a year at Concordia Research Station in Antarctica.

Covid-19

Ten Tips From Scientists Who Have Spent Months in Isolation

Find a hobby, for starters, and don't forget the mission, say scientists who have worked at remote research stations

Al Worden visits his Apollo 15 spacesuit at the National Air and Space Museum

Smithsonian Voices

Remembering Al Worden

Apollo 15 Command Module Pilot Alfred "Al" Worden, an aviator, engineer and storyteller passed away on March 18, 2020

The EVA of Astronauts James Irwin, or Apollo XV EVA, Pierre Mion.

I Was Among the Lucky Few to Walk in Space

On July 31, 1971, Al Worden performed the first deep-space extra-vehicular activity. "No one in all of history" saw what he saw that day

NASA Names Its Next Mars Rover 'Perseverance'

In an illustrated narrative, Perseverance—scheduled to launch this summer—searches for any signs of past microbial life on Mars

Graphic illustrating the MAVEN spacecraft encountering plasma layers at Mars.

Ten Trends That Will Shape Science in the Decade Ahead

Medicine gets trippy, solar takes over, and humanity—finally, maybe—goes back to the moon

When curators gather, the topics are lively. Did Dolley Madison save the day? Do astronauts eat freeze-dried ice cream? And where exactly did the Pilgrims land?

Smithsonian Curators Help Rescue the Truth From These Popular Myths

From astronaut ice-cream to Plymouth Rock, a group of scholars gathered at the 114th Smithsonian Material Culture Forum to address tall tales and myths

The TEQ experiments will attempt to induce a quantum collapse with a small piece of silicon dioxide, or quartz, measuring nanometers across—tiny, but much larger than individual particles.

A New Experiment Hopes to Solve Quantum Mechanics' Biggest Mystery

Physicists will try to observe quantum properties of superposition—existing in two states at once—on a larger object than ever before

In the heart of a new dark matter detector, LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ), a 5-foot-tall detector filled with 10 tons of liquid xenon, will search for hypothetical dark matter particles to produce flashes of light as they traverse the detector.

New Generation of Dark Matter Experiments Gear Up to Search for Elusive Particle

Deep underground, in abandoned gold and nickel mines, vats of liquid xenon and silicon germanium crystals will be tuned to detect invisible matter

The telescope will decommission on January 30 after uncovering the some of the deepest corners of the universe.

Spitzer Space Telescope Ends Operations After Scanning the Cosmos for 16 Years

Looking back on the groundbreaking discoveries of NASA's little telescope that could

2020 is shaping up to be a great year for sky watching.

Ten Celestial Events You Don't Want to Miss in 2020

Whether you are a telescope enthusiast or just want to step outside to enjoy the night sky, these are the phenomena to look out for this year

Dust-rich outflows of evolved stars similar to the pictured Egg Nebula are plausible sources of the large presolar silicon carbide grains found in meteorites like Murchison.

Meteorite Grains Are the Oldest Known Solid Material on Earth

The oldest dust sample, perhaps 7 billion years old, predates the formation of our planet and the sun

The hypothetical dream spacecraft flies over Uranus and past its rings and moons, too.

Astronomers Prepare a Mission Concept to Explore the Ice Giant Planets

NASA scientists imagined some innovative technologies that could enhance a future mission to Uranus or Neptune

These are ten of the biggest strides made by scientists in the last ten years.

The Top Ten Scientific Discoveries of the Decade

Breakthroughs include measuring the true nature of the universe, finding new species of human ancestors, and unlocking new ways to fight disease

Scientists seeking extraterrestrial life in the universe (above: a radio observatory in New Mexico) seek the answer to what is called the Fermi paradox: “Where is everybody?”

If Aliens Existed Elsewhere in the Universe, How Would They Behave?

In a new offering from Smithsonian Books, James Trefil and Michael Summers explore the life forms that might exist on a dizzying array of exoplanets

The North Island brown kiwi is a flightless, nocturnal bird that lays the biggest egg relative to its body size.

What Bird Lays the Biggest Eggs Compared to Its Body Size? Where Does 'Lame Duck' Come From? And More Questions From Our Readers

You've got question. We've got experts

The Ten Best Science Books of 2019

New titles explore the workings of the human body, the lives of animals big and small, the past and future of planet earth and how it's all connected

In the hubbub after the meteorite strike, Ann Hodges became a minor celebrity. Photographs of her bruise and the damage to her home appeared in Life magazine in an article entitled, “A Big Bruiser From the Sky.”

In 1954, an Extraterrestrial Bruiser Shocked This Alabama Woman

Ann Hodges remains the only human known to have been injured by direct impact of a meteorite

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